36. Importance of the Arts

Too many people today have little regard for what the arts are. It seems to me that art is often more about being absurd or outlandish than portraying beauty. Rather than being a vehicle for expressing the truths that cannot be fully described without the arts, it denies reality and truth to serve ideologically driven purposes.

“The enemy of art is the absence of limitations.”

-Orson Welles

Spirituality: Art touches the human soul when done correctly. It moves us. It makes us understand and empathize with others. We can feel the emotion of the musician, understand why the actor does what he does, and see the vision of the painter. It places us on a different plane of understanding.

Arts: What really are the arts? I believe they are an attempt to grasp at a truth that cannot be expressed without a certain form. It is a fictional story that reveals an essential truth about humanity. It is a song that expresses one’s emotions far greater than any words could ever try to do. It is a painting that captures a scene in such a way that it’s more real than the sight the artist saw.

Culture: Politics is downstream of culture. But, culture is downstream of arts. The arts are what create the culture. Artists are the people who explore the unknown world and bring back bits of it to share and fit them within the framework we have to understand the world. The artists are often unaware of what they are exploring, rarely understanding it themselves. Regardless, this is what forms the culture.

Philosophy: The arts and culture can move the philosophical discussion drastically. We’ve seen this in many ways in American culture. The dissolution of Judeo-Christian values arrived the same time as the degradation of the arts. As the arts became unbounded and vulgar in the 60’s, the culture followed. Then, the philosophical discussions did as well.

The arts when bounded by rules free people; when art is let loose to run wild, it enslaves them.

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